James Bond - 1962 to 2008
Thanks to Netflix, I just finished a very long run of watching every single James Bond movie in order from the first 1962 movie, Dr. No, to the latest 2008 movie, Quantum of Solace. Many of these movies I had never seen before, yet they've been a part of movie culture for so many decades.
I remember the first time I saw a James Bond movie. The first one I ever saw was Goldeneye, which was Pierce Brosnan's debut as James Bond. I remember thinking, "Wow! No wonder people love James Bond movies! That was awesome!" And, truth be told, Goldeneye was actually a good Bond movie, even in the context of all the ones to come before it (and especially in the context of the Brosnan-featured Bond movies to come after it).
I've always heard people talk about which actor they liked best playing James Bond. I would often hear people saying their favorite Bond was still Sean Connery. I had thought this was partly due to nostalgia and simply them liking Connery because that's who they first saw playing Bond.
However, having seen every Bond movie now from start to finish, I have to agree. Sean Connery was really great at playing James Bond. He had a style that really set the character. While I did have to keep in mind the state of movie-making at the time, I still felt Connery did a superb job at playing James Bond. (By "state of movie-making", I mean the special effects and action scenes were laughable compared to today's standards.)
It's well known that the Bond movies took a sharp downhill plunge after Goldeneye. Even not having seen previous Bond movies, I could tell the whole franchise was tanking. It was almost depressing how comical the Bond movies had become. Austin Powers was starting to be less of a parody and more of a parallel.
When Casino Royale came out, wow. I think it's undeniable that Daniel Craig did an absolutely stellar job of setting the Bond movies back on track. So, so many things were done just right in that movie.
Casino Royale was so good that there was almost no way that Quantum of Solace would be able to match it. And it didn't. It was by no means a bad Bond movie. In fact, it was right in the middle there as a good Bond movie, but definitely not at the level Casino Royale was at.
I feel the next Bond movie could go one of two ways. Either, Quantum of Solace can act as a bridge to another movie on par with Casino Royale, or we are seeing the same downward plunge of the roller-coaster that we got with the Pierce Brosnan set of Bond movies. I really hope it's not the latter.
Now I think I need to go watch the three Austin Powers movies again so I can more fully appreciate the parody and humor in those movies.